For Local 400 member Theresa Haney from Kroger #796, it was more than a trip from her hometown of Wurtland, Kentucky, to Houston, Texas—it was a journey from the store where she serves as a shop steward to a national leadership role in the fight to advance the rights and well-being of working women. That’s because Haney recently had the opportunity to attend the board meeting of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), America’s only national organization for union women. Founded nearly 40 years ago, CLUW works to promote more equitable workplaces, to strengthen the role of women in unions, to organize unorganized women, and to increase the involvement of women in political and legislative action.
A shop steward for the past 15 years, Haney has always been active with the local, serving on the bargaining committee for the past three contracts and participating in organizing campaigns, but the challenges facing women in the workplace have always sparked her interest. “The sisterhood that CLUW creates is great because it allows me to meet so many different women from different industries all with a common goal in making our workplaces better,” she said.
The CLUW board meeting served as a great learning platform for Haney and her peers as they were able to discuss health and safety problems they faced in the workplace as well as fair treatment by management.
“Learning from the other women was the best part of the meeting,” Haney said. “Even though we come from different industries we would still discuss the similarities and differences and brainstorm about how to reach a solution.”
After Haney returned home she shared what she learned in the meeting with her sisters at Kroger #796 and handed out badges that read, “a women’s place is in her union.”
“Our union is everything to me,” she said. “I believe more women in our union need to become involved in CLUW. It’s a great way to take action for our safety, benefits and fair treatment in the workplace.” – photo: Theresa, second from left, with Terri, Bridgett and Hazel from the Machinists union; photo courtesy Theresa Haney